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As Long as We Remember...

July 16, 2019

Sheriff Jenkins Derangement Syndrome

Jennifer Baker

Not to be confused with Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), Sheriff Jenkins Derangement Syndrome (SJDS) is just as contagious in Frederick County.


Last week a court case was filed against Sheriff Church Jenkins and several deputies alleging racial profiling and 4th Amendment violations.


The most recent plaintiff is brought to us by RISE of Western Maryland, the ACLU of Maryland and the same DC lawyers who also represented Roxanna Orellana Santos in her case against the Sheriff’s Department. The almost 30 page filing contains most of the usual RISE complaints against the Sheriff and the 287(g) program in Frederick County. Very little of the court filing involves the actual complaint made by the plaintiff against two sheriff’s deputies.


The root of the allegation against the sheriff and the deputies is an allegation of racial profiling during a traffic stop in the summer of 2018. The plaintiff was driving on U.S. 15 when a deputy entered the highway behind her. After driving for a time, the deputy pulled over Sara Haidee Aleman Medrano and requested her license and registration. She provided her Maryland-issued driver’s license and registration. She also requested a Spanish-speaking deputy as she spoke limited English.


While awaiting a second deputy, the original officer checked the plaintiff’s license and registration during which an outstanding immigration issue appeared on the plaintiff’s record. When the Spanish-speaking deputy arrived, he asked the plaintiff if she knew why she was pulled over. She said she did not and was then told of a tail light out on her car. The second officer also asked the plaintiff where she was from and if she was a resident or citizen.


When checking her license during the stop, the original officer saw an immigration issue that appeared. Any outstanding warrants, or, in this case, an immigration issue would show during a license check at a traffic stop. The second officer also informed Ms. Medrano and requested her license and registration. She provided her Maryland issued license and that since there was an immigration issue she should turn off the car’s engine as they would be there for some time while information about the immigration issue was sought.


The original officer, according to call records during this time of the traffic stop, called the 911 dispatcher, an agent from ICE and a supervising officer at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.


As the 911 dispatcher informed the officer the plaintiff was wanted by ICE, the officer then called an ICE agent to inquire on the issue and request direction. ICE said they would not respond to the traffic stop and at that point the officer called his supervising officer at the Sheriff’s Department for direction.


After nearly an hour, the officers at the traffic stop informed Ms. Medrano that she would receive a written warning for the tail light and that due to the immigration issue she would need to seek out a lawyer to resolve the outstanding immigration issue.”


Now a year later, the Sheriff’s Department is once again fighting a lawsuit over a traffic stop that would be considered normal in less political times. This would be yet another way to slow down the sheriff as proposed at a recent anti-287(g program meeting where this case and video advertising the case were discussed at length weeks before the court filing.


Let us hope the district court hears this case for the partisan political play it is.


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